Just Boxes

  • Contact me re: price & availability
  • Woods Used: curly sycamore, narra, ebony, spalted maple
  • Size: 10" x 12" x 2.5"
This box was going to be named "Reasonable Facsimile" since it's similar to one of the "Faith, Hope and..." boxes. But while I was making it Dan reminded me of an episode of "The Simpsons" in which Bart's class is taken on a field trip to a box manufacturing facility. The kids are bored silly and ask perfectly reasonable questions like "do these boxes ever hold candy?" and "do the workers ever get their hands caught in the machinery?", to which the manager resignedly replies "I don't know what kind of factory you think this is. We just make boxes."

Since my father's actual occupation was making boxes (he could have been the character in the episode - and, unfortunately, he did get his hand caught in the machinery once) and I make boxes as a hobby, and my wife collects boxes because she just can't help herself, the phrase "We just make boxes." takes on a kind of ironic meaning around my house.

I could make other things. Bigger things. Sometimes do.

But boxes really are the most fun.

You get the chance to work with wood on a scale that fits a home shop, a small place. You can buy bits of exotic lumber and they'll last a long time. Don't have to worry much about storage. Machines don't have to be as big, or as powerful (though they should be very precise), as one would have in a cabinet shop. You don't need much space around the machines, either. And, if you use CAD, as I do, you can print out full size drawings on a medium format printer, no plotter necessary. You can even use hand tools and not feel like you're completely wasting time... And you can still work out alls sorts of ideas about lines and surfaces and colors, and how one piece of wood fits into/with another. You can even make errors that don't cost a fortune to repair or replace. Very relaxing. And, in terms of outcome, though they often enhance the space in which they reside, boxes don't demand much attention in return. Other things in the room don't have to "go with" a box, the way they have to "go with" a table or cabinet. Boxes don't have to "go with" anything, really. They're free of that, too. Accessories, minor characters in the overall design, grace notes. In the end, boxes must understand they're not as important as the things they contain or store, or protect.

So here's to little wooden boxes and to incredible artisans like Philip Weber, and Peter Lloyd, and Andrew Crawford who make the most beautiful boxes in the world.

Boxes, just boxes.

Anyway, this box is curly sycamore, narra, ebony and spalted maple. The ebony pieces are full-lapped to make the frame, the spalted maple is fielded. And...

San, I hope you like it.